Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Tapper Twins Go to War (With Each Other)

The Tapper Twins Go to War (With Each Other)
Geoff Rodkey
Little Brown, 2015  219 pgs
Grades 4-6
Realistic Fiction/Humor

Fasten your seat belts for some great boys verses girls shenanigans; twin style and updated for the twenty-first century. Written in the form of a book, complete with first person interviews, text messages, and e-mails, Claudia tells her account of the war with her brother Reese chiming in with his side and editing her writing. It all starts with Reese accusing Claudia of breaking wind in front of a significant group of their sixth grade class at their New York City private school. Claudia retaliates by planting a dead fish in Reese's backpack, stinking up the room wherever it lies. The practical jokes continue to go back and forth evolving in seriousness and ranging from bad haircuts to exposed crushes, finally escalating to the worst blow of all: destruction of Reese's video game world (similar to Minecraft). By the end of the story, Claudia has been suspended and both twins realize the errors of their ways.

Screenwriter Rodkey offers a delicious new series that kids will devour. Roadkey (himself a father of three) writes about the kind of things kids want to read about and manages to capture their voice and thinking patterns spot-on. Kids love a practical joke war and this particular one will incite both giggles and groans, while kids relate to the embarrassing things the twins use as ammunition. This is not your parent's practical joke war, Rodkey has updated for his audience using current video games, social networking, texting, etc as his weapons. This currency will appeal to young people, but will date the book quickly limiting its longevity. Because of the genders of the twins, both boys and girls will enjoy the book equally, making it a great choice for book discussion. The reader is not just entertained; ethical issues are raised in the course of the novel, such as cyber bullying, lying, invasion of privacy and, at the core, the fact that hurting your sibling doesn't feel as good as you think it will, in fact it makes you feel worse. The length is perfect and "Claudia" intersperses her narration with photos and maps, making the book digestible to reluctant readers. The hijinks continue in The Tapper Twins Tear Up New York (due to be released at the end of this month), followed by the timely The Tapper Twins Run for President (due in April 2016).

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